Apple's Apple TV, iPhone, and remote-control app for iOS are the targets of a new lawsuit alleging that when used together, the three products infringe on a patent held by another company.
Switzerland-based technology firm SmartData filed suit against Apple earlier this week in the Northern District of California, claiming that the trio of products infringe on a patent it holds covering "wireless computing technology."
The suit asks for damages, a permanent injunction against Apple's products, and a trial by jury.
SmartData describes itself as a "wireless solution provider." Its patent (U.S. Patent No. 7,158,757) is entitled "Modular Computer." SmartData describes it as a "computer (that) can consist of elements already existing in the user's surroundings (for example, portable telephone, television)." SmartData filed the patent application in early 2001, and was issued the patent on January 2, 2007--just a week before Apple took the wraps off its first iPhone at MacWorld.
In the suit, SmartData says it attempted to license its patent to Apple in 2004 and that negotiations went through mid-2006 before Apple "ceased communication." SmartData then claims it went back to Apple the day the patent was fully issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, attempting to strike a licensing deal, which it says Apple once again did not respond to.
SmartData says Apple continues to infringe on the patent with the products, which when used together fall under the system described in the patent. The company goes on to say that Apple was, and continues to be, "clearly aware" of its infringement.
An Apple representative declined to comment on the suit pending litigation.